Jeanne Olson Darlington


Jeanne Olson Darlington M.A. ’72

Jeanne Olson Darlington M.A. ’72, former instructor in science laboratory in the chemistry department, died on July 27 at the age of 99. Jeanne received her B.A. from Knox College in Illinois. She came to Wellesley first as a master’s student in chemistry, at a time when our master’s programs attracted women who had been out of the science field for a considerable time. After completing her degree, she became a lab instructor here in 1972 and served in that capacity for 22 years. Jeanne was one of her department’s most versatile and effective instructors, teaching with great skill in introductory, organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry courses and renowned for running laboratory sections that were invariably instructive and enjoyable. Her good humor and supportiveness of students and new colleagues alike were legendary. She was an active participant in a New England Consortium for Undergraduate Science Education group that developed a new laboratory curriculum for introductory chemistry. She also participated in the research group of Peggy Merritt, professor of chemistry at Wellesley.

Jeanne’s family described her Wellesley years as a “wonderful chapter of life,” in which “she became part of a community of educated, intelligent, strong women [and] … fit right in.” They also recall that she became known for making her coffee over a Bunsen burner! After her retirement in 1994, she remained close to the College. She was a passionate supporter of women in the sciences and contributed an enormous amount to her department and to the educational experience of chemistry students.

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